The Shadow of the Erdree, a DLC expansion for Elden Ring, has been announced. This has opened the floodgates of wild theories that are now floating all around the internet.
No body is certain as of now what content this DLC will bring to Elden Ring. Like every lore hunter out there, it’s only natural that we’d also get to add some wild but plausible theories.
There’s only one clue to explore and dissect, the image tweeted by Fromsoft on a random Tuesday.
First, before we consume your time with all our theory crafting, we will list down every definitive conclusions we have drawn from our investigation.
And if the picture is showing the location where this DLC will take us, then the following predictions are likely to be true.
- THE TWO GREAT TREES: The picture depicts two trees, one most likely is the Erdtree and another that’s creeping around it. This second twisted tree may probably be Erdtree’s shadow. It could very well be the tree that used to emerge from the Deathroot, one we find below the Lands Between.
- BACK TO THE PAST: The time period depicted will probably be in the past when Erdtree was still providing Lands Between with its amber sap, as it is shown leaking its amber liquid bounty in the picture.
- MIQUELLA, THE UNALLOYED: The DLC will likely focus on expanding the story of Miquella the Unalloyed, the remaining demigod children of Queen Marika we have yet to interact with. You can actually find her slumbering inside a cocoon in Mohgwyn Palace, but she does not react to anything.
- FAR FROM LANDS BETWEEN: The area shown in the picture seems far from Erdtree, it could even be beyond and outside the Lands Between. It most likely can be the Lands where the Tarnished “the dead who still live” were exiled to. You’ll understand it all when we dive deeper.
- NEW CONTENT: Of course, the DLC, like the previous FromSoft DLCs, will have a lot of new content. This will most likely include a whole new area, an expansion to the storyline, new bosses, new weapons, new armor, new items, new NPCs, new enemies, and new secrets.
- NEW ENDING: There is a high possibility of a new ending and an alternate conclusion to the story by completing the content of DLC. Every ending in Elden Ring has a different colored sky, and the sky in the picture seems like it’s bringing the winds of change into Lands Between, although the winds do really look murky, don’t they?
Those conclusions were drawn by diving very deep into a rabbit hole, and if you want to ride along, let’s start by isolating each individual thing that’s shown in the picture.
There are a few things directly visible and notable, and I will list them down below.
- The giant trees in the distance.
- The person riding on torrent.
- The ruined structures.
- The fog or clouds of dust and the environment.
- The golden field.
- The spectral tombs.
Now let’s start an intricate dissection of everything we see in the picture.
The Giant Trees
The first thing first. The trees. When we look closely, there are two trees and not just one.
One is straighter, and another is a crooked tree spiraling around the straighter tree.
The straight tree is dropping a golden sap. Erdtree used to drop sap exactly like this, but it was in the past, long before we, the player Tarnished, reach the Lands Between.
The proof, item description of Blessed Dew, a Talisman. It depicts a drop of Erdtree’s sap, which is the exact color of the sap being leaked from the straighter tree.
More about the two trees, if you visit the Deeproot Depths, the arena where you find Godwyn’s body, there are two trees, maybe there are even more than two, but take a look at the picture below.
On the left is the dark tree growing from Godwyn, and on the right is a more straighter one with lighter bark.
We took a closer look. The tree with lighter bark, one opposing Godwyn still has golden leaves, the exact same leaves we see scattered around the Royal Capital, meaning it is most likely the Erdtree.
Now, let’s move on to the Royal Capital Leyndell. We can see all across the Royal Capital white-colored ash covering buildings or grounds, and this is way before we even burn the Erdtree and flood the whole capital with ember and ash.
We know that burning the Erdtree is considered a sacrilege, so then what could they be burning there?
We see the doors and windows in the Royal Capital sealed using wax, why? The only reason I can think of is to stop something so minute and fine that it could seep in through the gaps in the closed doors and windows.
That minute particle could very well be ash and wax is an infamous material used to seal things.
So back to the topic, what was so necessary to burn if Erdtree is too sacred to burn off? My guess would be another tree, the darker crooked tree that was coiling around the Erdtree was the one being burnt.
That’s why they had to seal off the windows and doors as they kept on having to burn away the persistent growth of another tree, i.e., the dark tree that was growing from Godwyn’s dead body from underneath the Royal Capital itself.
Similar to these dark deformed bulbous roots we see in the picture below.
Just like how Queen Marika had her shadow in the form of Maliketh, Princess Ranni had Blaidd, and Elden Lord Godfrey had Serosh, the White Lion, These are the only shadows we know in Elden Ring.
The title of DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, could signify that Deathtree somehow is the shadow of Erdtree itself.
Maybe not exactly like the shadows of the demigods, but in the game, unlike everything that renders a shadow, Erdtree does not have one. So, the shadow could mean so many things, or it could be just a fancy descriptive term.
Also, from what we have gathered, the time frame of the DLC picture above could be showing the past, back during the time when Erdtree was still blessing the lands with its amber sap and was also being coiled around by another tree, most probably the tree coming out of the Deathroot.
The white ash-strewn across the capital suggests that there was a practice of large-scale burning all around Leyndell, and if they didn’t burn the Erdtree, then it could only mean they burned down the Deathtree.
The Person Riding on Torrent
The person riding on Torrent can only be Miquella, the brother of the infamous Malenia. See for yourself.
The person on Torrent and the Miquella being carried away by Mogh look exactly the same. They have the same hairdo, the same armband, and the same dress.
Torrent being there shows that Miquella used to ride on Torrent before Melina or we ever did.
Miquella’s alternate form is suspected to be St. Trina, who is described as a female, just like how Radagon and Marika are opposite genders of the same self. The horseback rider in the picture could be depicting Miquella in her St. Trina form.
The proof of Miquella being St. Trina can be found in the game. The Fervor cookbook  is a book made by someone who was obsessed with St. Trina and can only teach us how to craft one item, the Bewitching Branch, an item describing the power Miquella had over other beings.
The DLC content will most probably expand upon the story of Miquella, an important demigod whose content is not available in the base game. We cannot find the Great Rune of Miquella’s, so the DLC could also take us toward it.
We all know that every DLCs in Souls games till now have taken us to another world or addressed content that hasn’t been addressed in the main game.
The only content missing from the main game was Miquella, although we do find Miquella in Mogh’s Palace as Mogh himself speaks the name before he fights us.
Still being an important demigod with so many story implications, and probably even the past owner of Torrent, the one who asked Ranni to give us the Spirit Calling Bell, Miquella has been missing in the base game.
The Ruined Structures
There are two types of structures we can see, the ruined archways and the coffins.
Regarding the arches that are shown in the DLC picture, we could not find similarly ribbed/foiled arches anywhere in the base game.
Everywhere we looked, either had circular arches or pointed arches.
This could be a deliberate way of saying the location is outside the Lands Between.
The coffins might look like the same ones we find scattered across the Lands Between, but even they have some minute differences.
The DLC coffins are unmarked and don’t taper from top to bottom. The cap/cover in the DLC coffin has a protrusion. We cannot find that exact same coffin anywhere.
We do find some uncovered coffins that do not taper, just like the coffin we find Ranni’s doll in, but even they have some minute differences.
In the cover of the coffin where we find Ranni’s Doll, the sides are flat, while in the DLC one, the cover has some extension protruding from its sides.
Every point made above can only mean one thing, the place shown in the image is not in the Lands Between. At least not where we can visit yet.
We will most assuredly get a new location, with new architecture and scenery. This is not new for FromSoftware, as even in the last few games from the company, the DLC expanded with brand-new locations.
The Golden Fields
Once again, we have no idea where that field could be in the game. It looks like a wild grassland rather than a wheat field. There is no such grassland across the Lands Between. In real-world comparison, the grassland looks exactly how American Praries look during late September.
The Erdtree is looming and towering above everything since the very beginning of the game, but in the image, it seems far away. So it could very well be the “Lands Beyond the Fog,” outside of Lands Between Itself, where the tarnished were exiled to.
We have checked how the Erdtree looks from every corner of the Lands Between, and from nowhere, even when we went to the furthest corner, did we find it looking quite like how it looks in the DLC image.
The real question is, what are Miquella and Torrent doing there?
The area shown in the DLC picture is too far away from the Erdtree, judging by the perspective, it is most likely outside the Lands Between.
On the current Map itself, there is one mysterious location, the cloud at the center of the map. Theories suggest there was land there that could have sunk underwater.
But this location is implausible for the same simple reason. The Erdtree should instead look gigantic from there.
Check by yourself, from anywhere, the Erdtree looks massive and looming even from the furthest corner of Land Between, so it would never look that small from that close.
The Spectral Tombs
The last bit of clue we have is the ghostly spectral tombs scattered all across the grassy field.
Much of Erdtree and Lands Between is about the cycle of life and death. Erdtree, for a substantial time, controlled the existence of all its subjects.
They would hold Erdtree burial during the reign of Erdtree, where the bodies and souls themselves were returned back to the Erdtree.
Before the reign of Erdtree, the culture of Farum Azula Beastmen even followed something similar to Varna Burial, where the bodies were entombed with jewelry and possessions.
The dragons, it seems, had their own ritual where they entombed their dead foes by melting rocks over their bones and later making their workers carve the bones halfway out of the rocks in a decorative manner.
In the picture, the whole graveyard is spectral. This could mean the field is a resting place for souls rather than a resting place for the body, unlike our normal graveyards.
Maybe the field is where the souls of the Tarnished like us are lingering, outside the influence of Erdtree’s grace. The souls in this place, rather than returning back to Erdtree, rested in this vast field of spectral tombs.
The place depicted in the picture is away from the domain of the Erdtree, as the dead souls do not go back to the Erdtree and seem unaffected by its influence. This further cements the theory that the area might be beyond Lands Between.
It might depict the faraway Lands where the Tarnished “Ye dead, who yet live” were exiled to.
The Fog/ Dust
We see fog covering the Lands Between often, in fact, way too often. You know what, it should instead be called the Lands Between the Fog. That would have made a lot more sense.
In the very beginning, the narrator asks us to cross into the fog to reach the Lands Between.
It seems there’s dense fog between the location of the Erdtree and the location with the Rider in the DLC picture. This just strengthens the theory that we may be outside the Lands Between.
The sky is also a big part of Elden Ring, we see it takes many forms during our travels across Lands Between.
Even more, each final end variation is signified by a differently colored sky.
The Frenzyflame and Ranni’s endings have drastically different skies, so they are absent from the above picture. This new colored sky shown in DLC could mean only one thing.
We might get a new ending, and I hope it is more satisfying than the ones we already have. It wouldn’t be worth is otherwise.
Elden Ring DLC Release Date
The DLC should release within 2023. FromSoftware should give an announcement by the summer of 2023 with more details on when to expect.
We know the DLC is already in the works, we just don’t know how far the work has been done, so all we can do is wait and keep our eyes open.